One of the most appealing things about black metal music is how the artist can exclusively use dark atmospheric portions and binds them with fierce black metal style. I find this form of template quite attractive and catchy if it’s approached with higher quality and surreal musical eloquence. For a term black metal Vanum are one of my latest findings which I had discovered out of coincidence and now the band returns with their second full length album titled Ageless Fire. Formed by M. Rekevics (Fell Voices, Vilkacis and Vorde) and K.Morgan (Ash Boer, Predatory Light and Superstition). This super group of musicians also released their 2015 debut album Realm of Sacrifice through Profound Lore Records. And while I haven’t really listened to their first album, Ageless Fire fortunately has given me a glimpse of what to expect from this duo band.
The new album also features two live musicians L. Sheppard and E. Priesner, and it’s the first complete line-up including new members. Ageless Fire can be described as raw atmospheric black metal, and as a band they stand unequaled and incomparable to other bands like Ash Boer. The new album comes in four main tracks and one instrumental and outro with time running of approximately 41 minutes. Concerning their musical style Vanum aren’t close to other U.S. black metal acts such as Uada, Wolves in the Throne Room or Nightbringer. Albeit the differences they have instilled functional components by adoption the needful elements to their music. The majestic opening War is beautifully extinguished by the soaring melodies and cascading symphonies that build up with strong atmosphere.
Jaws of Rapture is an epic track of seven minutes and begins with rapid blast beats while the Cascadian atmosphere here is more of a somber feel, the guitars are steered with melancholic tremolo pickings. Vanum perform their music with a higher form of black metal which can also be described epic and melodic in the same time, there is just so much beauty in their songs. The vocals are led by harsh mournful screams while the music drifts with endless streams of melodies.
And by embracing the classic sound of black metal Vanum doesn’t depend on only symphonies to create the epic moments and that’s one of the beautiful marks of atmospheric black metal bands. For example the third track Eternity, which is the longest track on the album, is extended to 10 minutes long and has more tempo, the middle-section is mostly strummed by melodic guitar riffs. The tempo picks up again midway the track repeating the same formula which the band has established on their sophomore. The musical framework is comprised by the fine tremolo pickings combined with steady blast beats.
Under The Banner of Death has this fundamental sound and its more related to the raw black metal style. The constitutive song structure of each of the tracks are nicely crafted, Vanum also utilize the right elements to create more depth to their songs without sacrificing the effect of the melodies. While blast beats usually erupts suddenly to solidify the layer, the growls are placed in the right moment. The music itself is very emotive filled with catchy melodies, even with repetitive formula the U.S. quarter group captures the mood of the listener from right to finish.
The closing track Ageless Fire begins with slow melodic chords and mid-tempo pacing drums with guitars presented with tremolo pickings. Along with melodies centering in the mid portion the track suddenly gears into a faster pace. Vanum has released a very good album and I can see them slowly emerging to the surface, give them some time and they will draw more attention.
Release Date: February 15th, 2019
Label: Profound Lore Records
2.Jaws of Rapture
4.Under the Banner of Death